The 6 Degrees of Damian Lillard

It was the shot and meme that was heard around the world. Earlier this year, Portland Trailblazers’ star point guard Damian Lillard hit a series-clinching jumper from beyond the arc as time expired, advancing to the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs. The shot, launched over former Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George’s outstretched hands was a big deal to seemingly everyone else on the planet, but for Lillard, it was simply business as usual. “We’re a really resilient team,” Lillard told a reporter in a post-game interview. “We knew it was ups and downs throughout the series, we just had to keep our heads right, stay focused, stay together. We stayed together and it came down to one play and we executed really well and we were able to get it done.”

This wasn’t the first time he had shattered a championship contender’s dreams and delivered defeat as a cold dish served. In May 2014, Lillard buried a three-pointer at the buzzer to give the ‘Blazers a 99-98 win over the Houston Rockets, clinching a 4-2 win in the first round of that season’s NBA Playoffs, Portland’s first in fourteen years. When asked about his ability to keep his composure during these pressure-packed moments, Lillard credits his big-picture outlook with keeping him poised. “It’s usually not a whole lot going through my head,” he says. “I think what allows me to be confident and just keep my cool in those situations is knowing that I put the time in to give myself a chance to be successful and to end these games and staying in shape physically and just having my mind in the right place. And also understanding that I can shoulder the success and the failure of it. Whichever one happens on that night, I know I can handle both. So I go into those situations not really concerned with the outcome.”

Selected by the Trailblazers in 2012 with the sixth overall draft pick, Portland, Oregon would be a culture shock for the average kid bred in the mean streets of East Oakland, California. But for Lillard, his collegiate tenure at Weber State in Utah, where he competed in Portland on several occasions, afforded him some familiarity with the city. “I always liked Portland,” he shares. “Because when I was in college, at Weber, we’d play Portland State every year. So when you get a chance to come to a real city like Portland where it’s like an actual downtown and stores you can go to and kind of move around, you just have a different appreciation of it when you’re playing all of these different small towns. I already kind of liked the city to begin with. Now I get to explore more. My best friend was already going to college here when I got drafted so I’ve always liked it even before I got here. When I got here and started to meet people and learn the city, move around and just being a resident here, I’ve only grown to like it more. It’s become more of a home to me over the years.”

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Aupheus Mixes Classic Boom-Bap and Ambient-Electronic on ‘Strictly Scientific’


Strange Famous Records DJ and beat chopper Aupheus is the anointed king of “doom-bap.” The term, coined by SFR affiliate Buddy Peace, describes his style of combining other-wordly synth-scapes with heavy break beat snares. On his latest mix, titled Strictly Scientific, Aupheus layers sparse late ‘80s hip-hop gems with lush ambient instrumentals. “It’s all hip-hop from between ’85 and ’88. Sparse, stripped-back stuff that’s basically just drums and rap, layered up with electronica and movie soundtracks,” the producer tells Hive. “For example the Kool G. Rap song is layered with something from The Running Man.” Other hip-hop picks include Run-D.M.C.’s “Perfection” and LL Cool J’s “The Breakthrough,” plus lesser-known gems like “I Got an Attitude” by Herby’s Machine. As a whole, the combination of nostalgia-inducing hip-hop and mysterious soundscapes is greater than the sum of its parts. “It’s somewhat of an experiment,” he adds, “strictly scientific of course.”


VIBE x F.I.T. Present A Screening Of ‘Color Outside The Lines’

VIBE and Fashion Institute of Technology’s Black Student Union and Art Awareness & Appreciation Club present Color Outside The Lines, a documentary that explores the history of the Black tattoo artist, the art and intricacies of ink, and it’s cultural impact. Moderated by VIBE’s Online Style Editor Keenan Higgins, the screening will be followed by a discussion with special guest panelists. Read details here.